Oath of Quality

Presidential candidates pledge to use lean Six Sigma to cut waste and spending

As GOP presidential hopefuls blaze campaign trails this fall, many are telling voters they will use a quality method to help reduce the massive national deficit and eliminate wasteful spending.

Through the urging of Strong America Now—a nonprofit conservative political group—six Republican presidential candidates have pledged to implement lean Six Sigma methods throughout the federal government if elected to office.

Candidates who signed the oath also promised that after being elected, they would attend two days of lean Six Sigma training, perform a waste reduction project before taking office, and apply waste reduction tools to cut federal spending by 25% a year and pay down the national debt by 2017.

Is lean Six Sigma a legitimate option to take on such tall orders or simply hollow campaign talk to pacify voters aching for answers?

Some skeptics and political analysts have called the pledge "absurd" and seem to trivialize the quality practice as "some old-fashion private-sector pixie dust" that won’t make a difference.

They point to past presidential candidates who promoted bringing business best practices to the public sector to save money and make government more cost effective, yet spending and inefficiencies seemed to flourish after they were elected to office.

For example, George W. Bush was the self-styled "MBA President," and Ronald Reagan talked about implementing "advanced, modern business practices" to save money during his time as California governor.

Pointing to success stories in public and private settings, quality advocates see what lean Six Sigma has done to improve processes and save money.

Several government agencies already are using lean Six Sigma principles with great success, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Air Force, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Navy, said ASQ Chair James J. Rooney. So why not expand its use?

"There’s no better time for the federal government to deploy lean Six Sigma principles to reduce the debt, and to restore the faith of the American people and credit rating agencies like Standard and Poor’s," Rooney said.

"We are ecstatic to hear that Six Sigma is finally being looked at as a serious large-scale option for decreasing the national debt," said Craig Setter, president and CEO of Aveta Business Insitute, a Six Sigma training provider. "We fully support this approach."

GOP candidates who have already signed the pledge include: Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty had signed the pledge before he left the White House race in August, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry apparently has been considering the oath. Perry already supports a bill in the Texas legislature that would implement lean Six Sigma in the Texas Workforce Commission.

Retired Texas business consultant Mike George, who founded Strong America Now, has been attempting to get all presidential candidates, including President Obama, to sign on.

Obama has not but has shown interest in lean Six Sigma through his Jobs and Competitiveness Council, which will be "applying business concepts (like the lean Six Sigma approach) to regulatory processes" later this year.



Plans Under Way for World Quality Month Celebrations

To help mark World Quality Month in November, ASQ plans to unveil a website featuring clips of business executives from high-profile companies discussing the state of quality and debut a video contest for members to depict quality in action and how quality makes a difference in their personal and professional lives.

The website, www.worldqualitymonth.org, also will have more details on World Quality Month events and activities throughout the month of November, including the You-Q video contest.

You can upload and vote for your favorite videos starting this month. Those who upload videos could win an Apple iPad 2 with Wi-Fi and 3G, or a 64GB iPod Touch.

Also during World Quality Month, to further promote quality, ASQ members will be able to give one six-month ASQ membership to someone who previously was not an ASQ member. Members can visit www.asq.org to get the link to send to a colleague and invite him or her to experience a free full ASQ membership for six months.


STANDARDS AND CONFORMANCE activities make an impact on more than 80% of global commodity trade, which translates to more than $13 trillion, according to a new outreach initiative called Standards Boost Business (SBB) led by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and 25 other partners. The SBB campaign is a call to action for U.S. corporations to invest resources in the standardization system to gain its rewards. For more information, visit www.standardsboostbusiness.org.

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator has selected the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as the approved accreditor for the Permanent Certification Program for Health IT (HIT). The program seeks to enhance the certification processes for HIT in the United States by improving comprehensiveness, transparency, reliability and efficiency. For more information, visit www.ansi.org/news_publications/news_story.aspx?menuid=7&articleid=2986.

Who’s Who in Q

NAME: Jennifer Leny.


EDUCATION: Master’s degree in biotechnology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as additional coursework at Cranfield University in Bedfordshire, United Kingdom, and Madison Area Technical College.

CURRENT JOB: Quality assurance/quality control manager of North American operations, Pharming Group N.V., which is headquartered in the Netherlands. Pharming has transgenic animals that produce human proteins for therapeutic uses in humans. Leny supports quality activities in the areas of R&D, raw material production, downstream processing and clinical trials.

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: Leny’s professional experience includes time as a document control specialist, compliance specialist, current good manufacturing practice auditor, quality officer and quality manager in the service, chemical, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. She is an ASQ-certified quality auditor and certified hazard analysis critical control point auditor.

INTRODUCTION TO QUALITY: Leny was exposed to quality in her formative years by her father, who worked internationally in quality and project management within the heavy machinery industry. She was raised with the notion of "do it right the first time or don’t do it at all."

ASQ ACTIVITIES: As a senior member, Leny currently serves as chair of ASQ’s Madison, WI, section. She also has served on the section’s leadership committee as vice chair, as well as on the programming and education committee.

PERSONAL: Leny has traveled extensively to more than 30 countries on five continents. Her decision to work in the biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical industries stems from a sibling’s fight with HIV/AIDS in the 1990s. She is married to Jose and has one son.

FAVORITE WAYS TO RELAX: Water activities, ethnic cuisine, international travel and world music.

QUALITY QUOTE: As quality professionals, our own personal and professional development is a true assessment of our commitment to continuous improvement.


TAG Members Honored

Several members of the U.S. Technical Advisory Groups (TAG) to ISO/Technical Committees (TC) 176 and 207 were recently honored at the groups’ annual fall meeting in Washington, D.C.

Those recognized for achievements in standards development were: Gary Johnson, TAG 207, Leadership Award; Tod Delaney, John Shideler, Deborah Savage, Eric Madsen and Richard Davis, TAG 207, Outstanding Achievement in Standards Development; and Morgan T. Hall, TAG 176, Outstanding Professional Achievement.

ASQ manages the efforts of many U.S. standards development activities on topics such as quality management, environmental management, statistics, dependability and social responsibility. TAG 176 develops the U.S. positions on international standardization activities of ISO TC 176 on quality management and quality assurance. TAG 207 develops standards related to environmental management.


Five Teams Vie for Excellence Awards

Five teams from K–12 and higher-education institutions have been named finalists in ASQ’s Education Team Excellence Recognition Awards. The awards, which showcase the nation’s most outstanding improvement efforts, will be presented at the 19th annual National Quality Education Conference Nov. 6-8 in Indianapolis.

This year’s finalists include:

  • Pewaukee School District in Pewaukee, WI.
  • Ramaiah Institute of Management Studies in Bangalore, India.
  • Two teams from Westfield Washington Schools in Indianapolis.
  • Honeoye Falls-Lima Central School District, Honeoye Falls, N.Y.

For more information about the ASQ-sponsored event, visit http://nqec.asq.org/team-award/index.html.

ASQ News

GROWING FIRM Med Exec International, a Glendale, CA-based technical search firm that places professionals in the fields of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, biologics, diagnostics and biotech, has been named to Inc. magazine’s top 500 fastest-growing private companies in the United States. Med Ex is led by President and CEO Rosemarie Christopher, a 21-year member of ASQ.

LSS CONFERENCE ASQ’s Lean and Six Sigma Conference will be held Feb. 27-28 in Phoenix. Early bird pricing is available through Jan. 15. ASQ also will offer on-site certification exams at the event. For more details, visit http://asq.org/conferences/six-sigma.

CALL FOR SR STORIES ASQ is looking for stories on how organizations use quality tools and approaches to further their social responsibility initiatives. The first-place award will be an iPad and publication in the Journal for Quality and Participation, the ASQ Knowledge Center and theSRO* (www.thesro.org). Deadline is Nov. 1. For more details, visit http://community.thesro.org/group/srcontest.

STATISTICS EVENT ASQ’s Chemical and Process Industries and Statistics divisions are cosponsoring the 55th Fall Technical Conference, "Quality and Statistics: Getting Up to Date," Oct. 13-14 in Kansas City, MO. Two American Statistical Association divisions also are cosponsoring the event. For more information, visit http://cba.ua.edu/ftc2011.

AUTOMOTIVE ACTIVITY  The ASQ Automotive Division and ASQ headquarters are developing core tools training for automotive original equipment manufacturers and automotive suppliers. Tools include production part approval process (PPAP), failure mode and effects analysis, statistical process control, advanced product quality planning and measurement system analysis. Pilot training for PPAP was recently delivered to a major global tier one supplier. For more details, contact Kush Shah, ASQ Automotive Division chair, at asq.automotive@gmail.com.

ASQ AND JOHN DEERE INDIA ASQ’s local member community in Pune, India, and John Deere India recently organized a one-day forum that featured a panel discussion on how quality is changing. About 70 ASQ members and John Deere India employees attended the event.

APPLICATIONS FOR ASQ BOARD The ASQ Nominating Committee is accepting applications for officers and directors until Oct. 25. The committee is looking to fill two director positions, treasurer and chair-elect. Terms for each position start Jan. 1, 2013. For more information on requirements and how to submit a nomination, visit http://asq.org/members/leadership/elections.


Survey: More Firms to Increase Workforces

More than half of U.S. organizations said they planned to increase their workforces by more than 7%, but 60% of these organizations are pessimistic about the U.S. economy, according to business leaders who responded to a recent survey.

Organizations investing in technology and equipment are more likely to say they plan to hire more workers and invest in their training, according to this summer’s McGladrey Manufacturing and Distribution Monitor. Seventy-six percent of manufacturing and distribution leaders who responded to the survey also reported increased productivity during the past 12 months.

Of those reporting an increase in productivity, more than 60% percent said they plan to grow their workforces in the coming 12 months. Sectors more likely to be hiring include chemicals, oil and plastics.

For more survey results, visit http://mcgladrey.com/manufacturing-wholesale-distribution/mcgladrey-manufacturing-distribution-monitor-summer-2011-edition.


Quick Poll Results

Each month at www.qualityprogress.com, visitors can take an informal survey, and we post the results.

Here are the numbers from a recent Quick Poll:

"Some GOP White House hopefuls have pledged to use lean Six Sigma to erase the national deficit by 2017. How do you view this pledge?"

  • Campaign talk that will never get off the ground. 75%
  • A sincere attempt to infuse more quality into government. 25%

Visit www.qualityprogress.com for the most recent poll question:

"What is the state of Six Sigma?"

  • Somewhat effective, but needs updates.
  • Still relevant as is and here to stay.
  • Outdated and on the way out.

QP Classics

To celebrate ASQ’s 65th anniversary this year, QP is spotlighting classic content online each month. This month, you can download "Quality—A Global Issue," a special section published in September 1985 with articles on quality activities in Australia, China, England, France and Japan.

A look to the future

Listen to this month’s Author Audio featuring ASQ CEO Paul Borawski discussing the results of the latest ASQ Futures Study, released this month and featured in "Around the Bend," pp. 18–21.

Average Rating


Out of 0 Ratings
Rate this article

Add Comments

View comments
Comments FAQ

Featured advertisers